One person detained in Germany in connection with U.S. attacks

Thursday, September 13, 2001

Associated Press WriterHAMBURG, Germany (AP) -- Police detained one man in the northern German city of Hamburg in connection with terrorist attacks in the United States, authorities said Thursday.

The man was detained for questioning as part of an investigation, said Gerhard Mueller, the state police chief. He refused to give the man's name, age or nationality.

"He had a profession that appeared to be very interesting to us," Mueller said, declining to give further details.

Earlier, investigators working under tight security had combed apartments in Hamburg looking for any evidence connected to two men believed linked to Tuesday's attacks.

A total of eight apartments in the city were checked and four searched overnight, said Olaf Scholz, the Hamburg state official in charge of security.

Hamburg officials declined to elaborate on what role the pair may have played in the attacks, but a former employee at a Florida flight school said two students -- Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi -- had arrived from Germany in July 2000.

At a news conference, Olaf Scholz, the official responsible for security in Hamburg's state government, said people with those names -- both from the United Arab Emirates -- had registered as Hamburg residents, and had been studying at the Technical University in the suburb of Harburg.

Both were believed to have lived at the same address at some point, Scholz said.

"To our knowledge they ... both resided legally in Germany and are not in police records," he added.

They attended Huffman Aviation flight school, in Venice, Fla., for about five months, according to Charlie Voss, a former employee of the school.

German police say the two men were in Florida from July 2000 until January.

The Hamburg apartment where the two men were believed to have lived had been uninhabited since February, and was renovated recently, making the search for forensic evidence more difficult, police spokesman Reinhard Fallak said Thursday.

Neighbors have told police that up to five men had been living in the apartment, located in a working-class neighborhood with many foreign residents.

German police launched the search Wednesday on a tip from the FBI, and federal prosecutors took over the investigation Thursday morning. Six police officers stood watch outside the six-story building overnight.

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